In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, Lodians have been doing what they can to support relief efforts.
According to Lt. Sierra Brucia, last Friday the Lodi Police Department held a donation drive at Target where they were able to collect $4,300 in cash donations for Hurricane Harvey relief. In addition to the cash donations, they were also able to ship 15 boxes filled with pet supplies, school supplies and baby essentials to aid those in Houston.
Residents of Vienna Nursing Home are also doing their part to support seniors affected by Hurricane Harvey by hosting a bake sale on Friday to raise funds. The sale will start at 9 a.m. at the Vienna Nursing and Rehabilitation Center located at 800 S. Ham Lane and will last until all the sweets are gone.
According to Jamie Vilinskas, Vienna’s marketing director, many Vienna residents have been incredibly upset over the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey. One woman was especially upset, and after a sleepless night, she came to Vienna administrators early in the morning looking for an opportunity to send her support to hurricane victims.
“We’re still capable of doing something to help. We don’t have money, but we have time and we have hands,” the woman said to administrators.
Local churches are also doing their part to support the relief efforts.
Bear Creek Community Church held a special offering during a recent service and raised $5,000.
“Part of our mission is to impact the community, and that expands around the world,” Pastor Bill Cummins said. “When something like that happens, it’s normal that we would respond.”
Temple Baptist Church assigned $1,000 for the relief effort and encouraged the congregation to donate individually through Samaritan’s Purse or the Southern Baptist Convention.
Pastor Perry Kallis said it’s important for any church to help any way it can.
“We’re representing humanity in general and we care about other people and their needs and what they’re going through,” Kallis said. “It’s important to be involved in relief efforts.”
Lodi’s Deshmesh Darbar Sikh Temple has also been raising money for the relief effort. Secretary Bal Bahadur Singh Paul said the temple has already sent funds to Texas and is raising more money to help with the reconstruction of homes.
The Gold Country Region of the Red Cross, which includes Lodi, has also been very successful at collecting relief funds.
“We are getting a lot of monetary donations which is important because we’re going to have to be providing support for weeks or months to come, so the community has been very generous and we certainly appreciate everything that they are doing,” American Red Cross Gold Country Region CEO Gary Strong said.
In addition to receiving several monetary donations, Strong said the Red Cross hosted two telethons and raised more than $1 million for Hurricane Harvey relief.
“As much as a million sounds amazing, it’s really just a small piece of what’s being raised across the country and what needs to be raised to support this effort,” he said.
Not only are they raising funds for the cause, the Red Cross is also gearing to send more people to Texas, Louisiana and even Florida, which could be hit by Hurricane Irma.
Four volunteers from the local American Red Cross deployed to Florida on Tuesday. The volunteers are driving two emergency response vehicles to the region which will be used to distribute relief supplies, food, water and comfort kits to those in need.
“We are just impressed with the generosity of the people in this community to help people out halfway across the country,” Strong said.
Major Mark Thielenhaus from the Salvation Army said that California has already sent a few Salvation Army officers to Houston to help with relief efforts and most of the other officers will remain on standby in case additional officers are needed.
At present, Thielenhaus said they have only received requests to send very specific personnel. There has not yet been a call or request for more generalized volunteers.
Anyone interested in being a disaster volunteer can register on the National EDS website (www.disaster.salvationarmyusa.org) and list any special skills or training.
Editor Scott Howell contributed to this story.